March 21, 2019 / 9:05 PM / 3 months ago

Nokia says it is not taking on new business in Iran

Visitors gather outside the Nokia booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia does not plan to take on any new business in Iran in 2019, it said in its annual report on Thursday, citing difficulties in dealing with conflicting U.S. and European trade policies.

“The diverging EU and U.S. regulatory framework governing business activities in Iran will be far more complex in the future,” Nokia said in its annual 20-F report.

Under the nuclear deal struck between Iran and six big powers in 2015, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations were lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear program the West suspected was geared to developing an atom bomb.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement last year, and new U.S. sanctions have largely succeeded in persuading European companies to put aside business projects with Iran.

“As a European company it will be quite challenging to reconcile the opposing foreign policy regimes of the U.S. and the EU,” Nokia said.

Nokia made a total of 54.6 million euros ($62 million) in sales to operators in Iran in 2018.

“Although we evaluate our business activities on an ongoing basis, we currently do not intend to accept any new business in Iran in 2019 and intend to only complete existing contractual obligations in Iran in compliance with applicable economic sanctions and other trade-related laws,” it said.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Jan Harvey

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